You are currently viewing The 5 Steps in the Preparation of a Match Plan

The 5 Steps in the Preparation of a Match Plan

Strategic planning is an essential part of competitive football, where every detail counts towards victory. In this sense, the development of a match plan becomes a crucial component for any team that aspires to succeed on the pitch. This process involves a careful evaluation and analysis of various aspects that enable the team to face the opponent with the best possible strategy.

Here, we explore the five fundamental steps in the preparation of a match plan and their importance in the team’s success.

1.- Own Analysis

The first point to consider when preparing a match plan is to thoroughly understand the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own team. This internal analysis covers several aspects, from the current state of the team to the relationships between the players and the individual characteristics of each player.

Assessing where the group stands and where they need to improve is essential to establishing an effective strategy.

By examining one’s own analysis, different parameters are broken down that will guide the team in its collective structure. From defensive organisation to attacking transitions, each aspect of the game is examined to identify areas of improvement and strengths that can be exploited during the match.

2.- Opposition Analysis

Once you have assessed your own team, the next step is to analyse your opponent. This analysis involves gathering detailed information about the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, the different behaviours and structures used in each of the four phases of the game and their respective moments, as well as set pieces and the individual profile of their players.

Knowing the opponent allows the team to anticipate their movements and adjust their strategy accordingly. It studies the opponent’s behavioural patterns and looks for possible areas that can be exploited during the match.

Analysing the opponent provides a clearer picture of the challenges the team will face and helps develop a specific strategy to counter their strengths and maximise the chances of success.

3.- Identification of Key Moments and the Development of Methodological Patterns

The third step in the preparation of the match plan involves identifying the key moments of the game through the filtering of all the information, and the development of methodological patterns, as we explained in the post ‘FROM ANALYSIS TO THE PLAYING FIELD‘.

These moments can arise in different phases of the match and can include situations such as corner kicks, defensive transitions, or counterattacking opportunities. Identifying these moments allows the team to focus their efforts on specific areas where they can make a difference and gain an advantage over the opposition.

Once identified, and within this information transfer process, the following two questions should be considered:

– What have we observed?

– How does it serve us?

Once the answer to the above two questions is obtained, the coach and coaching staff can then go deeper into how to transfer all the information collected to the team. Therefore, these key moments become the focus of attention during the preparation of the match, either through training or video sessions. In other words, they will be the main focus where the team will concentrate on developing specific strategies designed to take advantage of these opportunities during the match.


4.- Tactical Key Points

The fourth step in the preparation of the match plan involves developing different ‘scenarios’ to address the identified key moments. These tactical key points are adjustments at the structural and behavioural level that the team will adopt at specific moments in the game where it is identified that the structure and behaviour of the opposing team may hinder the development of our principles or sub-principles of play outlined by the Game Model.

It is essential to communicate these tactical key points effectively to the team and ensure that they are prepared to implement them on the pitch.

The implementation of ‘scenarios‘ may include adjustments to the dynamic organisation or changes to the different principles or sub-principles within the Game Model. By developing these tactical key points, the team can improve its ability to adapt to the demands of the encounter and make informed decisions on the pitch.

For example, if the team’s principle in defending the static build-up is to mark individually with the intention of forcing the opponent to play long, and you are playing against a team where their forwards are aerially dominant, a possible ‘scenario’ would be to modify that principle with the intention of leaving the opposition free to play short and then to execute a possible press.

5.- Interpretation of Sequences

Finally, other aspects that should be taken into account, and no less important, are the interpretations of sequences that we have programmed into our Game Model.

The fact of having prepared and trained certain adjustments depending on certain situations related to the minute of play, score, or possible red cards, will help the team to remain competitive by adapting to these new situations.


Preparing a match plan is a complex process that requires detailed analysis and a thorough understanding of one’s own squad and opponents. By following these five fundamental steps, teams can increase their chances of success and approach each match with confidence and determination. Strategic planning not only provides a competitive advantage, but also fosters team cohesion and strengthens the team’s ability to overcome challenges on the pitch.

Leave a Reply